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Computer Vision Syndrome

It is a very common condition in people who spend a lot of time working at computers and is characterized by the following symptoms.

Loss of focus
Burning/tired eyes
Double/blurred vision
Neck and shoulder pains

Healthy eyes don’t have any problem on focusing on the printed page due to well defined edges of the letters and very good contrast of printed letters. But, computer characters do not have this contrast. They are brightest at the centre and diminish in intensity toward their edges. Eyes have difficulty to remain focused onto these characters or letters. As a result of this, eyes focusing drift to a point of rest also known as “resting point of accommodation”. But, they strain to regain focus on the screen. The continuous play of accommodation to bring the characters into focusing causes eye muscles (both internal and external) to fatigue. This produces a sensation of tired-eyes. People with dry eyes also tend to develop fatigue and blurred vision due to increased dryness when working at computer as the blink rate is reduced during near work, which in turn causes more evaporation of tears and increases the severity of dry eye.

What can you do about it?

Seek an appointment with eye care professional like an optometrist/eye doctor and get an eyesight test done to assess the vision, right prescription necessary to correct the refractive error if there is any. Working distance is also very importance in this regard and mention this to your eye care professional. Dry eye condition if present, needs to be diagnosed to treat it effectively with lubricant eye drops.

Computer glare screen filters

Glare screen filters which come with computers may help to some extent, but they will not completely solve your computer vision problems because they only affect glare from the computer screen and not the visual problems related to the constant refocusing of your eyes when working at a computer. Only when eyes focus clearly at the plane of working distance on the computer screen they experience relief from fatiguing effects. An anti-reflective coating (AR) is also highly recommended on all computer eyeglasses. As this coating prevents glare and reflections on the front and the back of the lenses that would interfere with focusing on the screen.

Working distance and lens coatings

Glasses made with coatings like anti-glare, anti-reflective coats do help you in eliminating the need to constantly refocus when viewing the screen. Correctly made prescription for working distance at computer will also greatly help your eyes in relieving fatigue and strain. Majority of computer users benefit from these glasses with special coatings and made for working distance (18” -28”) if they are experiencing strain. Reading glasses are usually prescribed to read at a distance of 16"-18", but computer glasses are usually designed to work at 18" to 28".

Ergonomics is important — changing one's computer workstation can certainly help to minimize other physical symptoms. The proper prescription computer eyeglasses at the proper computer distance (18” to 28”) are most important. This can be done only with the right computer lens prescription.

Depending on your prescription, an eye care professional will probably fit you in either single vision or multifocal lenses. The single vision lens is designed to optimize your vision at one distance only: near for reading or work at the computer; or far for distance (watching a movie or driving).